The National Memorial Arboretum preserves 150-acre of land on the edge of the National Forest in Staffordshire. As well as housing some 25,000 trees, in burgeoning woodlands and gardens, this vast landscape also accommodates nearly 400 memorials.
The UK-registered charity is part of the Royal British Legion, another key partner of Manifesto’s. Not only do the memorials celebrate the lives of lost armed service personnel, they also commemorate the achievements of lives lived and memorials for the emergency services and other groups who have served or sacrificed for our nation can also be found onsite. And, more recently, the year-round space remembers the efforts by key workers who have sadly passed away during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In 2020, a year where practically everything shifted online, the Arboretum recognised the need to revamp its digital shopfront. Which is why, with the help of Manifesto, the charity decided to build a new website.
A website with Arboretum style
The Arboretum welcomes more than 300,000 visitors through its doors each year. Its previous site wasn’t reflecting the charity’s identity, and it wasn’t explaining the site’s purpose – or the calibre of programmes it offers.
The vision for Manifesto’s team was clear. Deliver an engaging, informative, yet simple, online experience for individuals, event organisers and learning groups. The site also had to reflect the beauty of the Arboretum’s 150-acre site, so as to attract more visitors year on year.
Owning an easy-to-understand, accessible digital footprint was vital following the outbreak of COVID-19, as in-person and people-powered operations took a big hit. And in a post-pandemic world, where donor behaviour only continues to prefer digital journeys, maintaining this estate will remain a priority.
Sharing resources and utilising past learnings
Manifesto kicked off the web build with a discovery session. That way, the team could more fully understand the Arboretum’s vision for its future, and how digital will feature in it.
Being part of the Royal British Legion, it made sense to build the site with Sitefinity – the same technology the Royal British Legion’s site is built on. So, the Manifesto team used as many of the same modules as possible, but connected the backend to a new pattern library. That way, the online branding would be specific to the Arboretum’s branding.
By utilising an already-working code base and scalable infrastructure, the charity saved time on building a website from scratch. Not only this, but it meant the Royal British Legion could share and reuse its learnings – such as workflows and permissions – with the Arboretum. And on top of that, the two charities can go forward with a shared set of resources, including security, Sitefinity core updates, and digital support.
A new digital shopfront in record time
The Arboretum’s new website launched in just eight weeks, in August 2020, which means it was up and running before the UK’s second lockdown. This allowed the Arboretum to clearly communicate with its visitors and donors, informing them as to which parts of the site and programmes remained open during the constant changing of restrictions.
How this helps us on your project
We’re able to partner with organisations to deliver strategic change over long-term projects. Our expert team can help your organisation implement Sitefinity’s secure and stable platform, allowing your team to publish content with ease, supporting business goals, and delivering personalised experiences for your users across your brands.